How good are you at multi-tasking? Women are supposed to have the multi-tasking gene and are seen as brilliant at juggling a multitude of tasks simultaneously. We pride ourselves on having this skill, whilst mocking men for their limitation – it’s one thing at a time for them. So much for popular appreciation of the power of focusing. Multi-tasking is usually seen as a strength, something to be admired and aspired to. After all, in this time-poor age, when there’s so much to do and only 24 hours in which to do them, getting many things done all at once can shift so many burdens from our backs. But isn’t there a downside? Do we not sacrifice quality for quantity and focus for lack of application when multi-tasking?
I recently experienced the limitations of multi-tasking and the power of focusing in an eye-opening way. I had two big projects to complete in May; the first involved finishing my part of a book I was collaboratively writing and the second, involved moving my Arbonne business up a level – both very challenging goals. My goal for writing the book had been set by myself and my fellow collaborators (31 May) and the Arbonne goal was mine alone and set for the same date.
At first all went well. I may have been grafting away on two major projects in tandem but my confidence level in relation to both was high. And then mid- month – trouble! I started to drop a few of the balls I was juggling. I noticed I was giving more time to my Arbonne project than I was to the book and try as I might to equalize the in-put one would overshadow the other at any given time. I was moving forward, but slowly on both counts and I was in danger of not achieving either of my goals. My stress level went up in equal measure to my awareness that there was no way I could keep my commitment to my fellow book collaborators if I didn’t prioritise my writing and give it the focus it deserved.
‘You need to focus on one thing’ is a familiar refrain. And when I’m coaching clients I ask them which of their goals they’d like to address first. So I know about the power of focusing. I knew that maintaining focus on one challenging goal at a time would help me accomplish it. So what made me think that I could be superwoman, do it all and do it all brilliantly? Ah well, I’m a coach, but I’m human too.
So here’s the thing; to accomplish a challenging goal focus is essential; applying yourself to the task in hand to exploit the power of focusing is a must. Set aside time to work on it and keep that time sacred. Avoid distractions – the latest episode of ‘The Killing’, or the temptations of Facebook. Because when your attention is diverted and skips from one thing to another the quality of your in-put is undermined and your attempts to do a good job suffer. Being thoroughly focused on the task in hand, giving it all your attention and energy, and losing yourself within it, puts you ‘in flow’ (a mental state of energised focus); you’re more likely to enjoy the process; you’re more likely to produce phenomenal work and you’re more likely to accomplish those challenging goals.
As for me, I prioritized the book. The consequences of failing to deliver on time were too painful to risk – damage to my reputation, a blow to my future plans. Determined to achieve my goal, I spent the last 2 weeks in May in ‘holy book space’ – up at 5 a.m. each day for 5 hours of writing – no Facebook interactions, no phone calls, no e-mails, just total fixation on the task. A couple of techniques helped keep me focused: writing down my goal, keeping it on my desk for regular reading when distractions beckoned; creating an affirmation and reciting it frequently and visualizing the end result and the euphoria of success. And guess what? I did it! I delivered on time! Yes, I was disappointed that I wasn’t superwoman and couldn’t accomplish both goals that month, but I console myself with the knowledge that I’ve rescheduled the completion of the Arbonne project to the end of June and no other major projects will compete for my attention this month. So remember, when you’re tackling a challenging goal the power of focusing brings success in half the time.
Winning Pathways Coaching enables women like you to harness the power of focusing and achieve their goals faster in a supportive way. Contact Claudia here for more information on how you can benefit from a Winning Pathways life coaching programme.